STB Issues Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Southwest Gulf Line

WASHINGTON – The Surface Transportation Board’s Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) has issued the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the Southwest Gulf Railroad Company’s construction and operation of a roughly seven mile line in Medina County, Texas.

SEA previously issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for public review and comment in this proceeding in 2004. The DEIS assessed four potential rail routes for Southwest Gulf’s proposed rail line to connect a proposed Vulcan Construction Materials, LP limestone quarry and the Del Rio subdivision of the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP), near Dunlay, Texas, as well as the No-Action Alternative, the use of trucks to transport the limestone to the UP rail line if Southwest Gulf’s rail line were not built.

Based on the comments received on the DEIS, SEA decided to prepare the SDEIS to conduct additional historic property evaluation and analyze three additional rail routes to the east of the routes originally considered. The SDEIS preliminarily concludes that two of these eastern routes would be environmentally preferable to the routes previously studied in detail because they would avoid or minimize impacts to rural historic landscapes in the project area discovered during the course of the environmental review. The SDEIS also contains additional noise analysis based on updated operational data provided by Southwest Gulf, indicating that trains may operate during nighttime hours.

SEA invites public comment on all aspects of the SDEIS. After public comments are received, SEA will prepare a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) responding to both the comments received on the SDEIS and the comments previously received on the DEIS; thus, there is no need for members of the public to repeat comments that have already been submitted. In making its final decision in this case, the Board will consider the entire environmental record, including all public comments, the DEIS, the SDEIS, the FEIS, and SEA’s final environmental recommendations.

The public may comment on the SDEIS by submitting written comments (original and two copies) by Jan. 29, 2007 to the following address: Rini Ghosh, STB Docket No. FD 34284, Surface Transportation Board, Washington, DC 20423-0001.

Written comments may also be filed electronically on the Board’s website,, by clicking on the “E-Filing” link.

– Special to News Wire